The interaction between safety culture and degraded modes: a survey of national infrastructures for air traffic management

Johnson, C. , Kirwan, B. and Licu, T. (2009) The interaction between safety culture and degraded modes: a survey of national infrastructures for air traffic management. Risk Management, 11(3-4), pp. 241-284. (doi:10.1057/rm.2009.10)

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This paper presents the initial results from a study into the interaction between safety culture and degraded modes of operation in European Air Traffic Management (ATM). Degraded modes occur when operators struggle to maintain levels of service eventhough key elements of their infrastructure have failed. Safety culture can be simply described as ‘the way safety is done around here’ – emphasizing that it is concerned with the realities of safety, and not necessarily what people say should be done. Although safety culture therefore deals necessarily with attitudes, beliefs and even feelings – so-called ‘soft’ phenomena – it does not mean that these are any less important than more objective and visible safety management artifacts such as standards and procedures, and so on. Poor safety culture is often linked to the causes of major accidents and incidents. Recent initiatives in ATM, including the European Safety Programme and its precursor, the Strategic Safety Action Plan, have also recognized that degraded modes of operation played a significant role in previous adverse events. Operators often reveal a high degree of tolerance for degraded infrastructures. There is a ‘can do’ attitude, whereby staff struggle to maintain operations when it might be more prudent to reduce the level of service or even close airspace in order to maintain levels of safety. The high level objectives of this project are: (1) to identify safety cultural aspects that influence tolerance to degraded modes and (2) to identify ‘best practices’ that Air Navigation Service Providers can apply to deal with degraded mode of operations.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnson, Professor Chris
Authors: Johnson, C., Kirwan, B., and Licu, T.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Journal Name:Risk Management

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